Six-time Grammy-nominated electronic musician deadmau5 has his fair share of criticisms for the modern state of electronic dance music (EDM), but there is a new crop of artists pushing the genre’s boundaries.

Deadmau5 signed fellow Canadian DJ REZZ, real name Isabelle Rezazadeh, to his Mau5trap record label in 2016 ahead of the release of her debut album Mass Manipulation. REZZ has previously expressed how a deadmau5 concert inspired her to create her own music.

“It’s really good to see the new crop come in and do so well,” deadmau5 tells ET Canada at Live Nation’s FVDED Presents event at the PNE Amphitheatre in Vancouver on Friday, Sept. 10. “Whether I had a hand in that or not, she’s just a really great person and she’s very talented.

“She’s doing something original. Any f**king chin-stroking idiot can say, ‘Oh this sucks because I’m not into it.’ But she’s doing it and you’re not.”

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REZZ. Photo: Jarett Lopez /

Deadmau5 served as Friday’s FVDED headliner; meanwhile, REZZ top-billed Saturday’s event.

“It speaks to someone like her’s creativity and her braveness, so to speak, to go off the beaten path and carve out herself,” deadmau5 adds. “You don’t want to be the imitator, you want to be the one who is imitated. I think she’s a shining example of that. So that’s pretty cool.

“What a cool person who really carved out her own piece of real estate in an otherwise stagnant pool of everything else.”

Deadmau5 invited fellow Canadian Lights to the stage on Friday to jam while the DJ played their new collaboration, “When The Summer Dies”. He has criticized the oversaturation of features in modern music, but deadmau5 describes his one condition for a collab.

“They’re friends. Kiesza is cool as s**t, I love her. She’s actually staying at my house for the last couple of weeks because she’s been having some problems with her apartment in Toronto. The coolest roommate. Creative,” he explains. “Those are the people I collaborate with.

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“No disrespect to other artists, but if I don’t know them, if I can’t sit down and have a beer with you and hang out and chill and just have fun, then I probably won’t collaborate with you. I don’t give a s**t how well it would do, I just work with friends, basically… I’m always making new friends.”

Deadmau5, real name Joel Zimmerman, also touches on the contrast between his onstage persona and the man producing the music — namely, there isn’t much.

“Deadmau5 is Joel with a hot and heavy mouse head and that is literally it,” he says. “I don’t feel like it needs to be an alter-ego. Like this is the character and there is a big impenetrable wall between that and the musician.”

Zimmerman, a tech-savvy composure, peels back the curtain on his creative process.

“There’s literally no emotional attachment to music for me,” the “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” DJ shares. “It’s more of a procedural thing. I just apply my know-how and stuff like that, you know what I mean?

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deadamau5 at FVDED Presents. Photo: Shaida Joukar

“Once I have that scratched in, I figure this is the song as stripped down as it could be. The rest is just [an] addition process and refinement and then finished product.”

Deadmau5’s Wikipedia page shows nine singles — including “Pomegranate” ft. The Neptunes, “Bridged by a Lightwave” ft. Kiesza, and “Hypnocurrency” ft. Rezz — with a “TBA” label next to the associated album. While deadmau5 admits a new album is an eventuality, he’s not too worried about a deadline.

“What new album?” he asks. “There is always a TBA. The apocalypse is TBA. World peace, TBA. This is the first summer I’ve had quote-unquote off in 12 years. I’ve been enjoying it and not really thinking about TBAs. I’ve been thinking about TBNs, to be determined now.

“Taking some time off and hanging out with friends. Of course, scaring off enough free time to fly down to Vancouver and have a good festival time in a land that has been barren from live events for a season. It’s been good.”